Particle Board vs Plywood: Make the Right Choice

There are different types of engineered woods available in the market like plywood, MDF, hardboard, particle board, blockboard, etc. They all have different properties, applications, raw materials as well as manufacturing process. These products have their own set of distinctive properties which makes them very diverse from one another, and hence one has to use them judiciously and not randomly.

When we compare particle board vs plywood, there arises confusion as they both are recommended for uses like to make furniture for home. Hence, here we have tried to give you a brief comparison of particle board vs plywood to help you make the correct choice.

Also Read: Particle Board vs MDF: How to Make the Correct Choice
Courtesy - Shuterstock

01. Material

01. Particle board is an engineered wood product made from waste products like wood chips, sawdust, and wood shavings. 01. Plywood is a wooden panel; made by stacking several thin layers of wood veneers over each other, i.e. better raw materials.

02. Uses

01. It is used in light weight furniture such as shoe racks, accent pieces, portable furniture, etc. where heavy loads are not applied.

02. For people who shift home frequently due to job circumstances, particle board furniture is more preferred as they can be easily transported.

03. It is used in modular office furniture, children furniture, and wardrobes in areas where they are not in contact with moisture. By laminating them, their durability can be increased.

04. It can be used as shutters for various storage units, as laminated particle boards.

05. It is also used as underlayment, flooring, wall paneling, and partitioning.

Also Read:7 Uses of Particle Board in Building Industry
01. Most commonly used for making custom built furniture for home and offices.

02. It is also used in building construction in the form of concrete shuttering panels, floors, walls and roofs.

03. Plywood is also used in making fences and signs for outdoor advertising, etc.

04. BWR grade plywood is used in making kitchen cabinets and other kitchen furniture.

05. Marine plywood is used for making boats and ships.

03. Properties

(a) Appearance

• As the wood fibers used may not be of uniform size, the edges appear rough.
• As layers show on edges, they have to be finished. It often splinters on the edges.

(b) Resistance to Water

• It is susceptible to damage in presence of water. It has more void spaces and soaks up water like sponge
•  It is less susceptible to water damage as compared to particle board.

(c) Resistance to Warping and Cracking

• It has low resistance to warping and cracking.
• It has high resistance to warping and cracking.

(d) Weight

• It is comparatively lighter than plywood.
• Plywood is heavier when compared with particle board.

• Particle board cannot support heavy loads.
• Plywood has high load carrying capacity.

(f) Fitting

• It can hold screws fairly well.
• It can hold screws and nails more efficiently as compared to particle board.

(g) Surface Finishing

• Particle board can be laminated and veneered easily. Due to porous fibers, it soaks paint so it cannot be easily painted, or paint consumption is more.
• Plywood can be easily painted, laminated, veneered and lacquered.

(h) Toxicity

• Formaldehyde resins are used to make particle board, which releases formaldehyde gas after installation. Thus particle board is toxic.
• Plywood is known to emit VOC’s but is also available with low or no toxic VOC’s.

(i) Strength and Durability

• It is the weakest form of engineered wood. Particle board has less durability as compared to plywood.
Also Read: Particle Board: Properties You Need To Know!
• Due to its cross laminated structure, plywood is very strong and is more durable.

04. Size

01. The most commonly manufactured size of particle board in India is 8 feet x 4 feet. (2449 x 1219 mm)

Particle board is available in range of thickness from 9 mm to 25mm.

01. Plywood is generally  available in a common sheet size of 8 feet  x 4 feet (2449 x 1219 mm)

Available in a range of thickness from 3 mm to 25mm.

*Note: Customized sizes are available depending on different thickness

05. Life

01. It has less life span as compared to plywood. In dry environment, it generally lasts for 5 years, but if surfaces are laminated they can last even for 10 to 15 years. 01. Plywood has a life span of 30years and can last more, if it is laminated or veneered.

06. Cost

01. It is less expensive compared to plywood. 01. It is costlier as compared to particle board.

Depending upon the application area and budget, plywood and particle board should be selected. For custom made furniture which supports heavy loads and for kitchen cabinets, plywood is recommended. While for bedrooms where load is less particle board furniture may be used to lower the cost.

From the above comparison of particle board vs plywood, the user needs to make a judicious and rational choice depending upon your budget.

The popular manufacturers of particle boards and plywood in India are: